Did South Carolina Cops Really Arrest a Guy for Trafficking in Shiitake Mushrooms?

Walterboro, S.C. resident Edward V. Spearman has been charged with trafficking illegal, hallucinogenic Psilocybin mushrooms that he allegedly grows in his secret mushroom laboratory. But Spearman's lawyer says his client's wares are actually flavorful shiitake mushrooms, which are legal even in South Carolina (for now).

Bravely reporting from the front lines of America's drug war is the Post and Courier:

Walterboro police say they responded to a call about suspicious activity at the house about 8:30 p.m. Tuesday. They entered the open door and saw marijuana out in the open. Officers then got a warrant to search the house and found evidence of a lab used to grow the hallucinogenic mushrooms, according to an incident report.

That's when Walterboro 5-0 called up the state authorities, who concluded that Spearman's indoor mushroom farm was a "grow facility." Then the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency got involved, seizing Spearman's criminal activity-tools (woks, spatulas, bottles of soy sauce) and fungi. Police also recovered a mysterious liquid that was either PCP, moonshine, absinthe, Spearman's own special methamphetamine-fueled energy drink, or—as his lawyer calls it—"home-brewed beer."

Spearman's lawyer says testing will prove once and for all that the mushrooms are food, not drugs. And by "testing," he means that the Walterboro cops plan to use Spearman's mushrooms in some new recipes they've recently downloaded off the Internet. If they eat their cooking and fail to develop any sudden urges to listen to the Grateful Dead, then they'll know they were wrong and give Spearman all his stuff back.

[Mugshot of Spearman via Walterboro Police Department. Mushroom image via Shutterstock]